10 Minutes With... Gavin Neate

 1. Describe OpenLab in one word.


2. What does inclusive innovation mean to you?

Innovation is the ability to step outside the box to explore new solutions.

Inclusive innovation is ensuring that when you step outside the box, you do so in collaboration with people who have expertise in a variety of areas. 

When innovating we change the world, when we innovate together we change the world for everyone.  

3. Why do you think accessibility for disabled people is an important issue?

The disabled consumer spends £249 billion per year.  If I can't access your venue i'm not spending my money with you.  It would be madness not to have an awareness of the importance of both physical access and the access allowed by an engaged and knowledgeable staff.  Spending is of course of massive importance but so is productivity.  Society is slowly waking to the realisation that we are stronger together as a diverse team of varied talents and skills.  Access is a massive part of ensuring that every person can be included and business must realise that without a diverse range of skills they will not be able to compete.

4. Where do you think the next big opportunity is for the development of inclusive technology?

There have never been more ways to connect, but we must ensure that if we are to use technology to do this, that is doesn’t reduce the amount we actually communicate. Digital solutions must enhance human contact and do so with a full understanding of the needs of all involved.

I believe that digital technology can be used to improve all communication and this is reflected in my own companies work with our 'Welcome' customer service system. 

5. Why do you think Neatebox products are increasingly capturing people’s imagination?

Neatebox products have their user at the very heart of the solution.  It is was a personal goal of mine that my work not only addressed the very real issues I had identified during 18 years working in the disability sector, but did so while supporting my views on an inclusive and equal society.  

Within the 'Welcome' app, the user can request the venues they would like to see added to the system. This request is sent directly to our development team who then contact the venue on behalf of our member.  This user led initiative ensures that the venues that people want to be included in the app are approached first.  It creates a superb feeling of acomplishment within the Neatebox team when we sign up a new venue and we take great pride in contacting each member with the good news.  We also regularly updates the app following suggestions from our community.  This service evolution is very much a part of ethos, and we are keen that the app is exactly what our members want it to be.  

Jasmin Khanom